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The Everlasting Aster

As October passes and we move into the late fall of November, we don't expect to see many wildflowers. We tend to think it's time for the tree foliage to shine and provide color on the ground—and perhaps a few…

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The Devil’s Knitting Needles

I never fail to learn something new when I edit a guidebook. Typically it's about geography or local history, or the development of some public land—or rules and regulations on trail use. But this year I've spent a lot of…

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Walking Into History on the Road to Nowhere

The North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is often called its quiet side. Perhaps most well known is Bryson City's Deep Creek Campground and trailhead, but did you know there are two entrances to the Park at Bryson…

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Rhododendron Maximum: Giant of the Heath Family

Once spring arrives in the Blue Ridge, it’s a non-stop parade of wildflowers blooming nearly everywhere. On show beginning in mid-June: rhododendron maximum or rosebay rhododendron. This is the tallest and showiest of the three rhododendron species native to our…

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The Multi-Talented Common Violet

We seem to have wildflowers on the brain here at Milestone Press. This may be because Jim Parham is nearing the end of a five-year book project titled Wildflower Walks & Hikes: North Carolina Mountains, due out next year. But the other reason is…

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A Brief History of Forsythia

A recent post about flowers that mark old home places in the Southern Appalachians mentioned the early spring-flowering shrub forsythia. Like daffodils, forsythia blooms are golden, making bright spots in the woods where cabins and farmsteads once stood. Like daffodils,…

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Hiking Back to the Home Place

It's been a warm winter here in the Smokies. And although we expect more cold weather in March, there's reason to expect that unlike last year, it will be an early spring. The earliest spring flowers are already in evidence. Daffodils…

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